Driving continues to be an adventure here in Albania. We still do not have our own car, but by the grace of God, we have had one to use since mid-July- no always the same one mind you. Our current car is a affectionately nicknamed “the ghetto car.” Traffic in Albania continues to be a lesson in trusting God. With only 15 years of driving history, signs in the back window of cars “shoferi e ri” (new driver) are common. Never mind that the driver maybe 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years old!
This month we have seen a big crack down by the police on illegal parking (double and sometimes triple parking on bus streets), obeying street lights (albeit only when the power is on), and restricting access to one way streets. This all makes for great improvements on the roads but they can’t be everywhere….
Today when I took the makina (car) to pick up the boys from soccer, I left only with enough time to get there if I encountered no obstacles or problems. In general, this is not a good idea. So when I turned down the narrow road that will take me out the main street, I was a little disheartened to see a car coming toward me. This could take a while….
Cars are parked along both sides of the street so only one car can pass through. There are however, a few places where one car can move over enough to allow the other to pass by with centimeters to spare. The car in front of me has moved over to allow the car coming toward us to pass. I am waiting a few yards back, waiting for my turn. And WHACK! In trying to over compensate for the car on his right, he hits the parked car on his left (never mind, the parked car had it’s rear end sticking out) and takes a nice chunk out of the bumper. I prepare to put my car in park, waiting for an irate Albanian (probably a mom picking up her child at the school) to come out screaming at the driver who has hit her badly parked car. I look at my watch, I am not going to make it to soccer on time. It doesn’t happen. The guilty driver looks over his shoulder a bit, looks at me, shrugs with a sloppy grin and drives on by. I shake my finger at him… he doesn’t look at me again.
Sigh, knowing there is nothing I can do, I too drive on. Okay, I am grateful I wasn’t late to pick up the boys from soccer.